With 100 kilometres of sandy beaches, thrilling water sports, challenging golf courses and family-friendly attractions, Myrtle Beach has long been a popular vacation spot. Explore the history of this American seaside town while enjoying Southern hospitality at its finest.
Where to stay: The young and young at heart will have a blast at Captain’s Quarters Resort. There is no time for boredom at this family-friendly hotel with 15 water attractions including pools and lazy rivers. Challenge the kids at the bowling alley, arcade and pool tables before dining at on-site Level Six Bar.
What to do: Families can easily spend a day exploring Broadway at the Beach. This 350-acre entertainment complex includes major attractions such as WonderWorks, Hollywood Wax Museum, Backstage Mirror Maze and massive animatronic replica dinosaurs, as well as plenty of dining and shopping options.
Where to eat: For the pizza lovers in your family, dine at Mellow Mushroom. Order a specialty pie such as the Holy Shiitake (which includes a blend of shiitake, button and portobello mushrooms) or build your own masterpiece with more than 50 topping choices. For dessert, head to nearby It’Sugar for giant Nerds candy and super-long Twizzlers.
Where to stay: Take in a glorious sunrise on your private balcony at Hampton Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort. There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained—soak up the sun on the beach, float down the on-site lazy river, or simply lounge in beachfront hammocks listening to the ocean.
What to do: For something a little more fast-paced, head to beachfront Ocean Watersports, which offers thrill-seekers the opportunity to parasail 300 feet above the roaring Atlantic. You can also sign up for a banana boat ride or rent a SeaDoo—experienced guides will help prepare you for these particular adventures.
Where to eat: Enjoy ocean-view dining at Pier House Restaurant, located at the 2nd Avenue Pier. This spot has been around for nearly 75 years and is known for its wide variety of fresh seafood dishes, including shrimp and grits, and grouper served with a creole crayfish cream. After dinner, move outside to the deck for a nightcap
Where to stay: For some Southern hospitality, head 45 minutes south to Pawleys Island, located at the southern end of the Grand Strand (a nearly 100-kilometre stretch of beaches), to the Pelican Inn. This eight-room beachfront bed and breakfast dates back to the 1840s and is one of the island’s last remaining original houses.
What to do: To learn more about the history of the area’s rice plantations, and to see some local wildlife, travel a half-hour south of Myrtle Beach to Murrells Inlet for an excursion with Plantation River Tours. Guests cruise along the Waccamaw River past six former plantations, while a local historian offers insight into the area’s storied past.
Where to eat: Myrtle Beach’s Sea Captain’s House, a circa-1930 former guest manor, is known for its award-winning seafood. Menu highlights include the jambalaya—Carolina shrimp, sea scallops, Andouille sausage and spicy Cajun tomato sauce served with dirty rice—and the Southern Salmon Cordon Blue.
Where to stay: Golf lovers will enjoy the luxurious Marina Inn At Grande Dunes. Located inside the sprawling Grande Dunes Resort, it includes a championship golf course with amazing views of the Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel also has a private beach, infinity pool and on-site dining.
What to do: Grab your clubs and drive north to Barefoot Resort & Golf. Boasting four courses, it’s known as one of the finest multi-course golf resorts in the country. If mini-putt is your passion, the Grand Strand has around 50 themed courses including Jungle Lagoon, which features waterfalls, caves and statues.
Where to eat: Head to Ailsa Pub, a Scottish-inspired pub at Legends Golf Resort. Unwind in the lounge as you feast on Scottish mushroom soup and arugula salad (made with produce from the pub’s nearby farm), while reminiscing about your brilliant hole-in-one.
Getting there: WestJet flies to Myrtle Beach three times a week from Toronto.
Orlando For Sports Lovers
Sports fans and athletes will rejoice with a visit to Orlando, where two new state-of-the-art sports venues have recently opened. Watch a soccer game at the Orlando City Stadium or play tennis at the USTA National Campus. Cheer on the Orlando Magic NBA team or head outside to go biking or canoeing.